Jan 4, 2014 at 9:05 am #1311754
Dan DurstonBPL Member
An eBay seller has 5 used Garmin Geko 201 GPS's for a nice price of $29 each. These GPS's are great for the UL walker that doesn't rely on GPS, but does value having one as a backup tool for tougher conditions.
They're about 3oz with batteries and useful because they give you your coordinates so you can locate yourself on a topo map, and you can also input waypoints (good for packrafting take-outs and finding passes in white out conditions).
The 201 doesn't have as good of a battery life as the 301 version, but most likely you'll be leaving it off 98% of the time anyways.Jan 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm #2060322
Have you used Geko in a wide range of conditions? I bought a used one a few years ago for the kinds of limited uses you describe, but had such a hard time locking on to a signal when I wasn't completely out in the open that I gave up on it. If you've had better experience, even under "challenging" conditions for GPS, maybe mine was defective? Or is that what you'd expect? (At the time I did most of the testing, I had it side-by-side with an Etrex, which worked fine.)
BillJan 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm #2060360
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There have been at least three generations of the Garmin Geko (101, 201, 301). As time has progressed, the performance has improved very nicely, specifically the time to first fix. The Etrex that you compared to should be roughly equivalent to the 301 model.
–B.G.–Jan 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm #2060406
Dan DurstonBPL Member
I've got the Geko 301 and I've never had a problem with signal acquisition. With that said, I turn it on very infrequently so I don't have a great deal of experience with it. I have used it on open rivers quite a bit (packrafting) and moderately in forests and once in a decent snowstorm. I usually get to pretty good accuracy (3-5m) within a minute or two.
The idea with a GPS like a Geko is that you'd be using it mostly as a backup navigational device should you fail to "remain found" with your map and compass. In the event that you are confused about your location, it's usually not a big deal to wait an extra minute or find a more open spot.
The Geko 201 should totally suffice for this purpose. The 301 has a better receiver (I think) and much better battery life (see old BPL review), so if you want a GPS for moderately frequent use then the 301 is the way to go. I like the 301 because I do keep it on sometimes when I'm packrafting as I put rapids in as waypoints. If you want a GPS for constant use then you're likely better off with a newer device with maps etc.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm #2060414
Mine was a 201. I had laid in waypoints for a mountainous unmarked/unmaintained/not so clear even when you're on it/through-the-trees route. The 201 that had worked fine in my backyard was not very helpful under those circumstances.
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